It’s not supposed to be this way. The memes we have shared about 2020 are too many to record. Too funny and sadly all too true. But it’s not supposed to be this way. We are not supposed to be isolated—oh excuse me—quarantined. We are not supposed to be hidden and covered—oh excuse me—masked. We are not supposed to be banned from human touch—oh excuse me—socially distant. The current state of the world is not of God’s plan. Which means it is the Enemy’s plan. God designed His people for fellowship, worshiping, hugging, smiling and for the love of humanity He designed us to dance.
Yet what are we doing? Our elderly are alone, our kids cannot share a pencil or a high five, our businesses are crumbling due to unreasonable mandates, and the shelves still don’t have toilet paper. What’s that deal? Is the toilet paper made in China? Why don’t the shelves have toilet paper? Chaos surrounds us and we have blindly accepted it.
So I had given myself a month long hiatus from Facebook and the news a while back. It went into effect on the day my Soul Sista slapped me across the face and told me to get it together. Disclaimer: She didn’t actually slap me. I was frantic, rambling, and screeching something along the lines of “The devil is winning! The devil is winning!” while on the phone with her wearing out the floors in my house and porch and then she figuratively slapped me across the face and started yelling back. I can remember the day vividly because I literally stopped in my tracks in the hallway and listened while she put me in my place—and to be honest I think she enjoyed it a little too much. But not to be outdone, I got to slap her across the face a week or so later and put her in her place. And I did such a good job I think she is still there—in her place. Just like I am still in my place. Seriously, everyone needs a soul sista to slap around who will slap you back. I turned off the TV and social media and retreated from current events. Anything but the news I told my husband—which turned out to be American Pickers—not much better.
I have been known to overreact a time or two. Think the worst. Some may even say fly off the handle (I wouldn’t say that but some would.) God has blessed me with an abundance of adrenaline to sustain me. Many things in my life I could not make up if I tried. And things tend to come in waves. Usually unplanned waves. I usually have chaos on top of chaos with a layer of whipped chaos on top with a chaos cherry to finish it off. And the adrenaline sustains me until it all gets done and it gets done well. Or not always well but it gets done. And then my body gets out of fight mode and it goes into flight mode and by flight I mean my energy flies the coop right along with my sanity, ability to reason and sometimes even my voice. I have been known to have a panic attack on the interstate. I found myself in an ambulance at a bait and tackle shop convinced I was having a stroke or an allergic reaction to lemonade. Either way, that’s how I was going out. I’ve “taken to the bed” three times in my life. When my son died, my dog died and my oldest moved to college. That last and most recent one, well that’s a story for another day. I feel things in ways most people don’t feel them. Which means I see things in ways most people see them. And what I see, is we need to be scared.
I mean, I’m not scared-scared. I know Jesus is coming back and I know I’m going with Him. What I am scared about is when and how much more of this 2020 type of unbelievable-they-said-and-did-what-$h!t-fest will we endure before He either comes back or the world turns right side out again. If He’s coming soon I’d like to know so I can stop the yo-yo dieting because my resurrected body will be a size 4 anyway. I’d like to stop stressing about the next 3 ½ years of out of state college tuition we signed up for. Some days I say Lord, if You come today I won’t have to fold these clothes. Lord if You come today I won’t have mop this dog pee again. Lord, if it’s before Wednesday I won’t have to learn Unit Two of 4th grade science. But so far we are still here and the world is still inside out and upside down. But it’s not supposed to be this way.
The Enemy has used fear to divide us, isolate us and silence us. Well silence some of us. Some are still pretty loud. We watch the news coverage about Covid. A third of us are locked in our houses, peeking out of the blinds and driving alone in our cars while wearing masks and PPE like it’s a body condom. A third are walking around mask-less and licking doorknobs. And a third of us are looking around saying WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL has happened to this world? We watch the news of protests being spun both left and right with neither interpretation being complete truth. And a third of us are in the streets with blow torches and don’t even know what we’re protesting. A third of us are sitting in our driveways in lawn chairs locked and loaded. And a third of us are looking around saying WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL has happened to this world? We watch the news of the weather and see storms and fires and more storms. A third of us are clinging to our Global Warming (sorry, Climate Change) pamphlets preaching to save the whales, oceans, ozone and turtles. A third of us are clinging to the book of Revelation and preaching that God’s wrath has come home to roost. And a third of us are saying WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL has happened to this world?
I find myself in the latter third. I find myself saying more times that I can count in a day WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL kind of world are we living in? And just so I don’t keep you in suspense, that’s a rhetorical question. I got nothing. I do know though that we are not created for this world. We are created for the next one. But our choices here in this one, determine where we land in the next one.
I’ve been struggling with shoulder pain for quite a while. No injury that I know of and I don’t know when it started. But recently I came to the painful realization that for all practical purposes, I am finished parenting my firstborn. Just to clarify, I know that we are never quite done parenting since I, myself, am still not completely raised given the fact that I don’t know how to manage my own IRA. But my decisions are my own and such is the same with the consequences. So accepting that I had gotten my first to this point but now the rest of her life depended on her and her decisions was painful and scary. And with that acceptance came the sobering realization that I’ve got two more to go. Two more very young souls to get to that point in their lives. And not only is the world a very different place than it was when raising her ($h!t it’s a very different world than a year ago), I am a lot older now. Hence the reason I “took to the bed” for the three days now and forevermore known as the Great Depression. Sidebar: This is why everyone should have their kids close together. If you don’t have time to think about it you don’t have time worry about it. In my struggle to find the endurance to keep up this pace and race of mothering, God showed up. He led me to the Fruits of the Holy Spirit of which I am trying to bestow upon my people, my flock of three. There are nine fruits and I realized that if we focused on one each week then that would lead us right up to Election Day (the outcome of which I pray more prayers than I know). So I am explaining to them the context of these fruits—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—and we will start week one with love and how can we show love, live out love, do everything though the lens of love. My husband, the father of my children, my other half, one who completes me, my co-pilot in parenting, begins to offer his suggestion on how I can show him love while my two angels ask what love fruit tastes like and where do we buy it and why do we have to eat fruit when we don’t like fruit. And then it hit me. I understood where the shoulder pain was coming form. My family, my blessed blessings, are sitting upon a barge in the middle of a swamp of quicksand, and I am dragging them to heaven with me. No wonder my shoulder hurts.
We live in a world of laws and rules. And we make more laws and more rules and we continue to be more worse for the wear. We cannot legislate or rule our way out of this one though. It’s not supposed to be this way.
Galatians 5:13-15 says You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
What would today, 2020, look like if we applied that one rule to everything we say, do or think? What if we loved our neighbor like ourselves in everything we said, did or thought? But to do that, we need our neighbor. But right now, the Enemy has us separated, divided, and alone. It’s not supposed to be this way. Children are supposed to share snacks and germs. It builds their character and their immune systems. People are supposed to smile at each other in Target instead of staring blankly at each other behind a mask. Families are supposed to gather in pews—in all the pews—and not be banished to the metal building on the side of church because we can’t get too close. We are supposed to stand up for what’s right and not just what’s right now. And we are supposed to be able to disagree, agreeably.
We are not designed to be alone. Genesis 2:18 says It is not good for the man to be alone so God created Eve for Adam. Genesis 6 tells the story of Noah and God instructed him to take two of every animal. Even the lowly earthworm needed a friend. God sent Joseph for Mary. God did not need Joseph in order to fulfill His plan for salvation. But Mary needed Joseph.
God created us for Him. He did not want Eternity without us. Even God—the be all, end all, always was and always will be—did not want to be alone. Why? Because it’s not supposed to be that way.